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Plaça Lesseps, 1991-1992

Lesseps Square, 1991-1992
Photograph, 39 x 57 cm

Manolo Laguillo (Madrid, 1953) has made the photographic representation of Barcelona his main theme, concentrating especially on the 1992 Olympic Games, a vital moment in the urban and architectonic renovation of the city.

Laguillo's first works in Barcelona date back to 1978. Since then, he has captured areas of in the midst of transformation, such as the Montjuïc stadium, Avinguda Diagonal, the port, the major Olympics public works at Vall d'Hebron and the construction of a series of infrastructures at Collserola. While his works are to be read in the context of documentary photography, Laguillo's poetic subjectivity makes them unique. They are images of spaces without people (most of the photographs are taken on Sunday mornings), in black and white, with a wide angle perspective, showing areas that are seldom represented.

Laguillo's images focus on the new peripheral areas of the city, including the industrial estates around the Besós, the industrial areas of Poblenou and the intersection between rural and urban environments in the delta of the Llobregat river. As the architect and theorist Ignasi de Solà-Morales has pointed out, Loguillo's photographs are a good reflection of the notion of terrain vague: territorial signs of the strangeness that stems from contemporary social life. At the same time, while architectural photography tends to focus on buildings and ignores the whole, Laguillo's images show the fabric of the city (which depends on the community) and reflect the idea of a living being.

Laguillo's importance in the eighties stemmed from the fact that his body of work moved away from the new “Barcelona model”; he was ground breaking in giving a visual form to the suburban spaces that are not part of the tourist circuit. He is also recognised as an essential figure in the broader Spanish context of the so-called “new topography” movement, which renewed documentary photography by modernising the topographic tradition of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and developing an urban landscape genre in which large-format photographs are used to represent (and denounce) the transformation of the new cities.

Technical details

Original title:
Plaça Lesseps
Registration number:
Laguillo, Manolo
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Gelatin silver print
39 x 57 cm (height x width)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Manolo Laguillo, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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